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Islamic Ideology ( 13 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Woman qazi creates history in Lucknow

Lucknow: A Planning Commission member and an expert on Islamic studies on Tuesday night created history by becoming the first woman to act as a ‘qazi’ and solemnise a ‘nikah’ ceremony here.

Sayeda Hamid flew in from New Delhi to perform the nikah (Islamic marriage ceremony) of Imran Naeem, Ph.D. scholar from AMU, and Naesh Hasan, founder member of a social organisation, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in the presence of eminent citizens at a city hotel.

The introduction as well as the vows were read in English giving the function a different hue than traditional rituals. Four women stood up as witnesses.

Although there has been no precedent of women conducting a nikah in recent Muslim history, they are known to have attained the position of qazi and mufti in times of the Prophet.

“The response from our families and local religious leaders has been positive,” said Ms. Hasan.

“We speak of progress but leave all the important jobs to menfolk. Religious duties have nearly solely been a male premise, not only in Islam but also in other religions.”

The nikah took place according to the tenets of Islam, her family members said. — PTI

http://www.hindu.com/2008/08/13/stories/2008081360251400.htm

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Earlier reports

Woman performs nikah, bridges Shia-Sunni divide too
By Tarannum Manjul
Posted online: Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lucknow, August 12: Picture this: A Muslim girl sitting across the table with her bridegroom. A maulvi enters, asks her if she would accept the boy to be her husband. She says she does. The maulvi asks the same question to the groom; he accepts it too.

What may seem different here is the fact that both the bride and the groom are sitting across the table from each other, and not behind a veil or curtain as in most Muslim weddings. But what really sets this wedding of Lucknow’s Naish Hasan and New Delhi’s Imran Ali apart is the fact that the nikah was performed by a woman.

Ushering in a new trend and breaking all traditional barriers, the wedding of two eminent social activists working for the rights of Muslim women was performed by eminent scholar and member of the Union Planning Commission Dr Syeda Hameed. Dr Hameed flew in from Delhi especially to perform the nikah and bless the couple. Although there has been no precedent of women conducting a nikah in recent history, women are known to have attained the position of qazi and mufti in times of the Prophet.

“I always wanted a wedding which did follow the proper guidelines of Islam and the Shariat but gave equal rights to Muslim women. The model nikahnama has been supporting Muslim women by giving them rights and I wanted my wedding to be according to it,” said Naish, founder member of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a social organisation.

When Naish spoke about it to Ali, who also works for the rights of Muslim women, he readily agreed. “I knew that through this move of ours, we could actually lead a number of youngsters to follow. We are not doing anything un-Islamic,” Ali said.

The nikah turned out to be a trendsetter in more ways than one. While the bride and the groom were Sunnis, Dr Hameed who conducted the nikah was Shia. Also, the four witnesses to the wedding were women. The nikah was performed following the model nikahnama, framed by the BMMA recently at New Delhi, after discussions over the past two years.

“According to the Shariat, anyone who is well versed in the Quran and is also a scholar of Arabic and Persian can perform the nikah. No degree or any other qualification is required to perform the nikah,” said Naaz Raza, the state coordinator of BMMA. “And our nikahnama gives rights to both the Shia and the Sunni women,” added Raza.

The wedding ceremony was performed in a simple manner. No baraat, no lavish expenditure and no ruksati.

The marriage has recieved appreciation from the chairperson of the All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board Shaista Amber. “Although they have not followed our model nikahnama and have instead created another one, yet I appreciate this step taken by Naish and Ali. They are certainly not violating any rules or rebelling against the religion. Instead, they are just setting a new trend that may be followed by a number of Muslim youngsters and help in curbing evils like dowry in the long run.”

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/348122.html

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Women to don mantle of qazi

Lucknow: A group of young Muslim women and a man here have decided to break fresh ground by moving for social reform and gender equality from within the religious community rather than defying its traditions and confines.

Five women – a qazi and four witnesses – on Tuesday solemnised the union of Naesh Hasan and her fiance. Hasan is founder member of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a social organisation.

Although there has been no precedent of women conducting a nikah (an Islamic marriage ceremony) in recent Muslim history, women are known to have attained the position of qazi and mufti in times of the Prophet.

Dr Sayeda Hamid, a member of the Union Planning Commission and an expert of Islamic studies, flew in from New Delhi to perform the wedding. Dr Sabra Habib of Lucknow University officiated as witness. For Hamid too, it will be a first.

“The response from our families and local religious leaders has been positive,” said Hasan. “We speak of progress but leave all the important jobs to men folk. Religious duties have nearly solely been a male premise, not only in Islam but also in other religions.”

The nikah of Hasan and her fiance will take place according to the tenets of Islam, some scholars supporting the cause said.

Kalbe Jawwad, noted Shia scholar and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, has endorsed the idea of the wedding. “There is nothing wrong if a woman conducts a nikah if she has the same knowledge as her male counterpart,” Jawwad said.
The detractors

However, Riyaz Ahmed, an Islamic scholar and President of the Idgah Committee in Farrukhabad, raised questions on the legal aspect of such a nikah. “What is the status of a woman qazi? Is she approved by the government? If not, what will be the legal status of such a nikah?” he said.

Expressing similar views, the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, president Shaista Amber said that although women are known to have performed as qazi and mufti in earlier times, “It would be better if religious work is performed by men. Women can take over in the absence of men.”

Noted Islamic scholar and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali said that there is no bar on women performing a nikaah. “It is not unIslamic,” he said.

However, he said that personally he did not approve of the act. “It is not practically possible for women to become qazi and hence religious tasks have always been limited to men like all other challenging work,” he said.

“Anyone can perform a nikah,” the Maulana added. “But the khutba which is read alongside is performed by Islamic scholars. All alim have so far been men.” –PTI

Source: The Hindu, New Delhi

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/woman-qazi-creates-history-in-lucknow-/d/546


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